The historic South Side Carnegie Library branch is going to get an interior makeover and you can see what the architects have in mind, based on earlier neighborhood feedback, at a meeting on Jan. 19, a week from tomorrow.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at South Side branch (in this photo), 2205 East Carson Street. Architects from Loysen + Kreuthmeier will present design options for your viewing pleasure.
This firm has designed new and renovated branches, including in Brookline, Woods Run and the Central Northside.
When that latter branch was being planned, my neighbors were highly vocal about the design. Some wanted it to mimic the Victorian fabric of Federal Street, which had largely been whittled away by demolition.
Some couldn’t understand why the historic branch in Allegheny Center had to be abandoned and/or rejected the library system’s explanation that it was a budget buster: too big, too inefficient to maintain and kind of all wrong for the current mission to streamline and downsize in order to serve as many neighborhoods as possible.
As usual, I could see both sides acutely, and even today, I wear two sentiments: How sad that the magnificent Richardsonian Romanesque, (in photo at left) once such a joy to enter, sits unused, and what’s going to happen to it?; and How warm and refreshing the new branch is with its spatial intelligence and natural light.
The old branch is a city-owned historic treasure that needs to find an enduring use, whatever enduring means in this society.
The city is going to be looking at all its properties during the “facilities” portion of the citywide masterplan, and would probably like to hear from you if you have a really swell proposal to buy it and a great idea for how to use it and lots of money to put up. (You can get federal tax credits of 20 percent for your investment because this baby is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Suzanne Thinnes, spokesman for the library system, said the South Side renovation will be the eleventh project in the “Libraries for LIFE” capital campaign. Some have been rehabs of existing branches, such as Homewood’s, and others have been new constructions.
The renovation is expected to begin in the summer and take about a year to finish. Funding for the project includes $2.7 million in capital grants specifically restricted to this branch.